LISTEN: City of Windsor Ordered to Stop Distributing Free Hand Sanitizer

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Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens says a cease-and-desist order on distributing free hand sanitizer is a waste of government resources.

Hiram Walker and Sons and BASF retooled production lines to mass produce hand sanitizer when the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, but weren't equip to package the product in small containers.

Dilkens says the sanitizer was donated to the city in 20-gallon pales and repackaged in 375-ml bottles donated by Leamington's Highbury Canco.

Despite both producers obtaining the proper permits and labels, Dilkens tells The Dan MacDonald Show an official with Health Canada determined labels on repackaged bottles didn't meet federal regulations.

"What a dumb thing to have to deal with," added Dilkens.

He says the order is bureaucratic red tape at the worst possible time.

"Focus all your energy on getting vaccines down to the community so we can get people well," he says. "Stop this nonsense about whether the label on a hand sanitizer bottle was perfectly in accordance with federal regulations."

Dilkens says officials scrambled to get the sanitizer out during a time when residents, businesses and healthcare facilities were struggling to locate a supply.

"Now someone at Health Canada has determined the label wasn't in proper accordance with the federal regulations and is now coming after the city to say, 'you must cease and desist ... don't give out any more hand sanitizer,'" says Dilkens.

He says the city was told resale laws still applied.

"We did everything we could to try and help out in that regard, so we never sold it but the word sale does mean free distribution," he added.

The city handed out 34,672 small bottles, 5,604 large bottles and 520 pails of hand sanitizer last year.

Dilkens says the city met a March 5 deadline to provide supporting documents to the federal government including copies of labels and distribution information.

He tells AM800 News the majority has already been distributed, but the city has been ordered to cease any future distribution and dispose of the remaining supply.